Archive for Wisconsin

Madison’s Capitol Building


The capitol sits in the middle of downtown Madison. The dome really isn’t a yellow-ish gold color, I just took the photo when the sun was hitting it a certain way.

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Madison – FREE Weekly Symphony Concerts at the Capitol

We decided to stay downtown when we visited Madison in the summer for a few days. Got in around 6 pm, dropped our stuff in the room and went to check the town out. Each Thursday in the summer, there is a FREE symphony concert playing on the lawn of the capitol. Pretty cool!

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Bayfield, the Apostle Islands and Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth and Ely, MN

July 16, 2008

 

My plan for the next few days:

Today – finish driving along Lake Superior, lunch in the town of Superior, drive to Duluth

Thursday – leave Duluth and drive to Ely, MN which is in the Boundary Waters area

Friday – canoe and stay in Ely

Depending upon how much I like the area, I will stay longer, or head northwest to Canada.  I suspect I’ll be heading north on Saturday.

My main concerns re canoeing the lakes are:

Most importantly, I know I’m going to get lost.  I know this with 100% certainty.  The outfitters set you up with a canoe, gear, and a map.  And off you go. 

 

Yesterday I went kayaking.  I took the ferry from Bayfield to Madeline Island, which is one of the Apostle Islands.  I met up with Ed, who is an ex philosophy professor who moved to the island 5 years ago and started up a kayak business.  He looks very much like Ken Lay, but sexier.  I was going to kayak around the part of the island where his shop is, but he wanted to swim at Big Bay State Park – another part of the island. He said the water temp was 45’ degrees.  I believed him…it was ice water.  He wore a wet suit.  It was REALLY beautiful.  But, after a short while, I turned around to see what I have done and realized that I wouldn’t have been able to find my way back except I could see a foot bridge that we had to cross over.  If that wasn’t there, I’d be somewhat panicked.  [There were all these “fingers” – don’t know the right word – feeding into the lake, and I couldn’t easily tell which one I came from.]

In Ely, there doesn’t seem to be group “day trips”.  Ely has 22 outfitters, so I will figure this out when I get in on Thursday.  Even if I do find a day trip:

I’m thinking that a little canoeing will go a long way.  I know that I little kayaking went a long way with me.  Do I really want to be on the water for 4 or 8 hours?

And then…the bug factor.  If the black flies et al are out, do I want to be tortured for 4 or 8 hours?

So, will play all this by ear.

 

I do want to relay a couple Sexy Ken Lay stories.

As we were driving to and from the state park, he would raise his hand off the steering wheel to wave at certain cars. When we were close to coming back to his shop, he said that the other drivers think that he is waving at them, but he is really signaling to them to slow down.  I told him that he is the only person alive who knows that the International Hand Signal To Slow Down is to raise your index finger off the steering wheel and just lift it up.

Also, when we were driving to the state park, we drove past this man on a bike, that had one of those tagalongs with a girl riding behind him.  She was singing.

We stop at the park and unload, and up rides the man and girl, and she is still singing all by herself.  Simple joy.  How nice.

After I was done kayaking, where I brought the kayak to shore, she is there in just her underwear [she’s 7] and playing in the water.  The water is ice water, seriously.  But she is just playing away. 

She tells Sexy Ken that her name is Annika.  But he thinks she’s saying Chanukah. And he starts cracking jokes, which she of course doesn’t “get”.  She’s with her uncle, and he says it’s Annika [he’s not bothered by the jokes].  She has never kayaked before, so Sexy Ken puts her into the way too big kayak, with the way too big paddle, and gives her a lesson.  Within a few minutes, this kid is doing better than me.  Nothing like being shown [showed?] up by a naked 7 year old!

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Wausau and Ashland, Wisconsin

July 15, 2008

 

I am camping in Ashland, which is near the Apostle Islands.

Yesterday morning started the same with the bright and cheery innkeeper lady.  I knew I was headed to this area, but again, had spent my time the nite before writing my email.  Again, she came at me with both guns a’blazing.  Again, she had great suggestions.

I left Wausau and took the scenic route out of town.  Then the scenic route along the river.  I stopped to pick strawberries.  Since I’m on the road, with no refrigeration, I bought what I thought I could eat.  Still, it was probably more than a quart.  Came to $1.75.  The strawberry patch didn’t look too big.  The kid working said that they’ve been thru it picking 7 times, then they open it up for people to pick their own.  He says that the farm is making money.  Nice to know that they can keep afloat and have what I consider a small patch of strawberries.

About a mile down this scenic road, I see a bear and two cubs cross the road about 100m from me.  Remember when I was hiking at Lands End [Quebec] and thought I spotted a bear, but it was really a fat porcupine or something?  Well, this time I was correct.  It WAS a bear and her baby cubs!!   I am having a blast!

I then went to the Concrete Park.  This is an outdoor park with almost life size people and animals re-creating scenes.  The figures are made out of concrete and adorned with broken glass and marbles.  Kind of fun and goofy.

I think I’ll be saying this a lot the next few days, but it’s really pretty here.  Lots of green, trees, rolling hills, lakes and rivers. However, hardly any places to pull over and picnic.

I had a late lunch and thought this café looked cute.  But in the window it said that they also sold nite crawlers.  So…I moved on down the road.

I seemed to have lost cell service, but it came back again when I arrived in Ashland. Unsure how much longer I’ll have that and thus my internet.

I went hiking in the National Forest to a waterfall [Morgan Falls] and to a lookout area.  Well, I should say I attempted this.  I went way out of my way to drive to the trailhead.  The hike to the waterfall was very easy and short.  And the waterfall was a disappointment – hardly any water.  Then I set out to hike to the lookout.

The problem…bugs.  Oh my.  Unsure what all there were – black flies, mosquitoes, gnats and others.  But there were buzzing around my head and ears.  I could literally see them orbiting my head around and around and around.  And for some reason, they seemed to want to get into my ears.  They weren’t bothering the rest of my body…they just liked my ears.  And it was driving me insane!!  I wondered if I wore ear plugs and couldn’t hear them, if that would bother me…would I still know they were there [besides the ones orbiting me].

After about 45 minutes, I realized that I am NOT having any fun.  I am being tortured.  They say the noise that will “break” a person being tortured is a baby crying.  Well, I can think of #2.

So I turned around and went back to my car.  I sure hope this isn’t how being outdoors for the rest of my time here will be.  If so, then it will be short.

The innkeeper highly suggested I make Ashland my home base while exploring the area.  It is on the water, and has great paths along the water and the view is simply beautiful.  However, the town itself does nothing for me.  I’ll be moving on…up to Bayfield which is right there next to/near the Apostle Islands.  Unsure if today I’ll kayak or will take a ferry and ride around one of the islands.  Probably kayak since I can’t do that every day.

 

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Heading NORTH

July 14, 2008


I am headed NORTH to the Apostle Islands [Lake Superior] and then Duluth.  Have been told both areas are really pretty.

Near the Apostle Islands it’s supposed to be thunderstorms and the low in the high 50’s all week.  It’s sunny and nice is Wausau.

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Wausau, Wisconsin

July 13, 2008

 

Right now I’m out on the balcony.  It’s 64’ and very windy.  I am on the “curve” of the wrap around balcony, somewhat shielded from the wind.  It feels like a cool, crisp Fall day…all except the leaves are still green.

I will dig my hat out of my “winter clothing” bag. 

 

My only “problem” with staying at a B&B is that I have to be somewhat sociable first thing in the morning, talking the inn keeper and the other guests staying here.  As most of you know, I am NOT a morning person.  I got down to bfast this morning, and she [the owner], who has been up for 3 hours, is full of energy and light.

Right out of the shoot she asks me what I’m doing today.  I haven’t had time to do any research cuz I spent all my time last nite writing up my email. Well, she starts off rapid fire with all these things I can do…and each one is an excellent idea!

In no order of importance:

Wausau/Montgomery County is the largest producer of ginseng in the world, besides “the Orient”.  There are over 1,000 producers/farmers of ginseng in the county.  95% of all that is exported from the States comes from here.  So…I went to a ginseng farm.  The ginseng plants are covered with a tarp cuz it doesn’t like direct sunlight.  The tarp is attached to 5’ wooden posts.  Ginseng berries turns red in August, and are harvested in September.  The roots are harvested in October.

The largest dairy in WI is here.  3,000 cows that get milked 3 times a day.

The owner told me NOT to go on the tour. 
Why? 
THE SMELL!  You will have to come back and disinfect yourself – shower and change clothes.  That smell lingers on you.

Hmmm.

Oh goodness was she correct.  I turned off one county road onto another.  I could smell it… the farm was between ¼ to ½ miles away.  The smell of poo was absolutely nauseating.  I quickly did a drive by and took a photo.  I needed to figure out where I was going next, so I pulled over to look at my map, but I couldn’t stand being there any moment more, so drove on and then pulled over a couple miles away.  I suppose once I thought about it, of course it’s going to smell…there are 3,000 cows there!!

The largest circular red barn is here.  Of course, in my mind I thought it would be several football fields big…so I was disappointed.  AND it was brick on the bottom and wood on the top.  But, it was circular, which is impressive.

There are two houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  I need to google how many houses he designed.  Two for one town seems like a lot.  Both houses are in town – I cycled to them.  They are one story, long, and have flat top roofs.  You would walk by both houses and not give them a second look.  One is for sale.  The other houses a radio communications company – and has a big *ss white radio tower on the roof!

I hiked at Eau Claire Park.  They have a Dairy Queen like shop right next to the trailhead.  I hadn’t seen any sort of business for 10 miles, then right there next to the trailhead is an ice cream shop!

I really like Wausau.  There are parks everywhere.  Lots of benches to look at the river. Part of the river has rapids, part doesn’t.  They had a Jr Olympics kayaking competition today over some of the rapids.  Lots of paths/trails near the water.  Lots of kids parks/play areas.  Lots of baseball fields [their summer college team is called the Woodchucks].

Near downtown along the WI River, they have foot/pedestrian bridges that take you to little islands in the middle of the river.  They are 100% nature/trees except for paths along the edge and criss crossing the middle of the island.  Two islands used to house several paper mills, and there are signs/info boards explaining the ruins, and why people first settled here.  The other island – which is off a beautiful park and boat launch, is the Isle of the Ferns.  Wow.  LOVED it.  So many places to sit and watch the rapids go by, have a picnic, read, think…  It was spectacular.  If I lived here, I would be here every day.  I felt as though I was in a national forest with rapids going by.  To my benefit, but sad, I was pretty much the only person out and about on these islands.  If you like nature, you’d like Wausau.

The drive to Eau Claire Park was simply gorgeous.  Rolling hills of either farms or trees.  Just about every house was a nice farm house with the red barn and silo.  Picture perfect.  THIS so far has been the best of Wisconsin. [I still have to write it up, but was disappointed with Door County.]

I didn’t make it to the Geological Marker which marks the exact center of the NW Hemisphere.  This is the halfway point between the equator and the North Pole, and halfway between Greenwich Meridian and the International Date Line.  One is in China, and the other 2 are in the ocean. The Market is 20 miles from Wausau.

I ate dinner at a place recommended to me at the base of Rib Mountain.  I looked onto a golf course, and the ski area.  Before dinner I had planned on going to the base of the mountain and climbing up a bit.  After dinner, I realized that I was 100% out of steam. 

Before dinner I thought I would go back to the B&B and cycle around the historic neighborhood and go back downtown to look at the final chalk artwork.  In reality – I drove the whopping 5 blocks from the B&B to downtown.

They judged the artwork and I agreed with 3 of the winners, the 4th looked like someone doodled in black and white.  It seemed that most were drawn based on a photo, but I’m unsure if that was a rule.  If so, then the doodle would have been difficult to re-create.  All the winners looked professional.  I would have liked a winner for the kids’ drawings, but they didn’t do that.

We now get to the part of my day where I have concerns that you will start thinking I’m making this sh*t up.

So, I’m walking around looking at the chalk art work.  I see a guy, around 45, smoking a cig, wearing a green shirt, vest, long pants. 

He is also exposing himself. 

The square is packed with people.  This is a family event with lots of little ones here.

So, I think “well, if he wants to show it off…I’m going to capture it on film”.  He sees me dig into my purse for my camera.  He turns to walk away from me.  I get his backside.  I pondered running around to the front, taking a photo and yelling something at him, but I believe, these guys get off on people’s reactions.  And the last thing I want is for him to get any pleasure out of this. 

All day long I have seen 2 cops on bikes.  At one point, I wondered if they were the same 2 cops that I kept seeing over and over again.   After all, how many cycle cops does this town of 38,000 have?  In fact, as I pulled up to the square to park my car, I saw 2 cycle cops talking to a cop in a squad car.  After I snapped my photo, I looked around for a cop.  And of course…where’s a cop when you need one?  I watched the guy walk off, finished looking around and started walking to my car.

That’s when I see a cycle cop.  I wave him over.

Hey – there’s a guy
Yes, we know.  We are trying to find him.
Well, he walked down that street about 10 minutes ago.

The cop races off. 


I yell “I have a photo of his backside if you want to see what he looks like!”
Cop makes a 180’, comes back and looks at my photo.

I tell him I’ll be standing here for a bit, looking around, in case the perv comes back.

He must have radioed the other cops, cuz then all these cops on bikes, cops in a squad car, cops in unmarked cars [one cop per car] pull up to see my photo.

I stood there for about 20 minutes, really hoping he’d come back and I can help them nail the perv, but he didn’t. 

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Appleton, Osh Kosh, Fond du Lac and Wausau, Wisconsin

July 13, 2008

 

I am in “how do you spell” WAUSAU.

Friday nite in Appleton I cycled around to the first residential house fueled by hydro electricity.  It was built 1882 – they call it a Victorian house, but to me it looks more like Bavarian, if that is a “type”.  I would have thought the first house would be a small house to be used as a testing ground, and also so that it doesn’t need a lot of electricity.  However, this is a huge mansion.  Huge for today’s standards, so I can’t imagine what people thought back in 1882.  The owner of the paper mill had the house built to impress his wife.  I bet it worked!

I also checked out Lawrence University.  It was founded in 1849 and admitted women from day one.  The first class had 7 graduates – 4 men, 3 women.

Saturday I checked out the farmer’s market downtown and bought some blueberries.  The oldest indie bookstore [in WI] is in Appleton.  I normally don’t buy books [I use the library or get free or nearly free books], but wanted to keep them in business so I bought that book “Girls Like Us” about Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell and Carole King.

Later in the day I sat by Winnebago Lake in Fond du Lac and ate my blueberries and looked at the photos in the book.  Conclusion based on the photos: James Taylor sure got around back then!

I went to the Houdini Museum.  Bottom line on how he got out of all those various locks – he either had a duplicate key made [an associate would steal the key for him, he’d copy it, and that person would return it] or he picked the lock.  He said that 25 key pickers [whatever] could unlock every lock in the world.  When the audience would think he’s hiding the key/picks on him, he would do his stunts in his underwear, and hide the key:

* If it was in a jail or room, an associate would hide it in the room
* In his hair
* Between his toes [NO ONE looks at your feet]
* In his butt [I suppose same]
* swallow it, then throw it up

Nice.

Couple other tidbits.  Appleton is Joe McCarthy’s home town.  When George Wallace kicked off his 1964 presidential campaign, he did it in Appleton cuz of his close ties with McCarthy.

Pulitzer Prize author Edna Ferber [Showboat, Giant…] is from here.

I then took off for Osh Kosh.  They were having a Blues and Brews fest.  Blues music and lots of beer.  I checked it out a little bit…the music was ok, but I was ready to keep moving.

As I travel around, I spend a lot of time pondering why people live where they do, how some towns flourish and others flounder, how to bring a downtown “back”, why some towns I immediately love, and others just seem nasty.

I had been forewarned by people re both Osh Kosh and Fond du Lac, so my expectations were lowered, and they turned out not to be as bad as I thought.  Both towns have businesses in pretty much all the buildings – not a lot of vacant buildings.  But they are just run down shops, and the building/streets are dirty…just not “clean”.

I didn’t have any desire to get my bike out and cycle around.  Which is always a combo of interest in the town and also if I feel comfortable exposing to anyone who may be looking that I have a trunk full of stuff including my folding bike.

I had a late lunch at the hip coffee shop and was on my way to Fond du Lac.

By the way, there is zero info re the B’Gosh factory or anything involving this in all the touristy info I have.  Now, I would think that would be a great tourist trap.

Osh Kosh too is on the Fox River…a lumber/paper mill town.  Appleton, Osh Kosh and Fond du Lac all have these beautiful, huge houses from a once wealthy era.  Still there, and seem to be well maintained in all the cities.  They all have really powerful Civil War Memorials, and mention Gettysburg on them. They all also have A LOT of houses for sale and for rent.

As I was driving thru downtown Fond du Lac I noticed a street was blocked off and I heard music.  Pull over!  They are having a music fest.  However, there is no one there!!  They have a beer booth, and a food both.  Maybe 20 people there.  So, there is this open place, and chairs set up, and no one is there.  As I walked up, the band took a break.  So, that was that.

I have noticed this past year that root beer floats are the new rage at just about every festival I go to, in a smaller town.  Noticed this when I went to the Americana fest in Nacogdoches, and have seen it just about everywhere since.  I never noticed that before.

Ok, unsure if I can convey this in words so you understand.  I went to St Paul’s Church, cuz it’s supposed to have nice stained glass windows and also a lot of German woodwork. The entire ceiling and upper walls are all made/carved brown wood.  There are a lot of arches going across the room. On each side of each arch is a carved sculpture/statue.  You know how on the front of a pirate/Viking ship, they have a mermaid or woman carved in the very front leaning out, leading the way?  Well, at least in my mind they do.  Well, all these sculpture/statue had men in this same “shape” of leaning out as though they are the front thing on a ship.  Strange.

I then decided to head to Wausau to spend the nite.

It was pretty much flat farm land all the way to Wausau, until about 10 miles out.  Then it became hilly and lots of lakes/water.  Really pretty.  I took the wrong exit, and somehow meandered into the city center.  There is a square and lots of people out and about.  They are having “chalk fest”.  Goodness…3 fests in 3 cities.  People of all ages and abilities are drawing chalk pictures on the sidewalk that surrounds and criss crosses the square.  It must go on tomorrow/Sunday, cuz some aren’t finished and the people have gone home.

I did not realize this, but there is a balloon fest going on here. I have since been told that it is too windy, and apparently the balloons didn’t go up this morning. 

I checked out the chalk artwork but was more concerned re food.  The downtown area is nice, but seems to have a lot of non-food shops.  And it was around 9 pm, so what they did have, most were closed already.  I didn’t find any food to my liking, and also asked around and there apparently isn’t any decent live music.  There was a place that had karaoke.  Not my ideal, but I had decided that I would do what I’m going to do, then go find a room.  Becuz once I get to my room…I’m NOT coming back out.

I saw a woman sitting in her car.  I don’t know why, but I asked her if she knew of a B&B in the area where I can stay.  As a matter of fact, she does!  So, I followed her lead and went to a place just blocks from the city center.  They had several rooms, all very nice AND in my price range.  The first room she showed me had a door…which leads out to this huge balcony over/on top of the wrap around porch.  Done!

I was going to sit in the rocking chair on the balcony and read or start this email, but the woman showed me things to do in the area.  I saw a band that I thought I would like.  They gave me directions and I took off to the town next door.  I get there [it’s this huge cavernous bar with a bucking bronc to ride], maybe 40 people there, 10 women dancing.  I sit down and the speakers blow.

So, I’m sitting outside on the rocker.  I have my fleece and a scarf on.  My computer which heats up too much is on my lap keeping me warm.

I will stay another day and take full advantage of the balcony and the pretty tree lined street.  I sure hope it rains for part of the day so I can sit under the awning/over hanging roof and hear the rain come down!

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Appleton, Wisconsin

July 11, 2008

 

I certainly made the correct call yesterday in coming to Appleton for music.

I got in and scored a room at this huge, historic Victorian home a block from the main downtown drag.  The room also has the Emergency Exit for the floor, which means I can open it to the screen door, open the windows and be in Nirvana with the wonderful breeze.

I have found the coffee shop that I could live in – Brewed Awakening.  It has wonderful looking baked products, quiche, healthy salads and panini’s, cool music, outside seating in front and in back, great stuffed chairs…they even sell gelato AND they have Nutella as a flavor!!  They even have a liquor license.

There are 2 raised window display areas, one each side of the entrance door.  Each with a great stuffed chair and neat table.  So, I sat “on display” and ate my artichoke and cheese panini!

After my late lunch/early dinner, I walked over to Houdini Park, where there is a free concert starting at 5.30.  It looked like it was going to start raining, and as I walked into the park a lady yelled “ok everyone…I’m calling it!”  She called the outside music due to rain, which means it would take place in the designated inside venue, which this week just happens to be the same venue I was planning on listening to music at later.

The venue was packed.  The band was fun.  When they took a break, I hopped on the free trolley that they have on Thursday nites [and the weekend] that takes you around various parts of town.

This town too was built along Fox River, and is a logging/paper mill town.  Some of the old mills have been refurbished into apartments.  The lady driving the trolley said they were very nice, but expensive.  Unsure what her version of expensive means.

After the trolley tour, I went back to listen to the second set by the band.

After that there was a band “from New York City” next.  Watching them set up, it was a very motley group of people – they didn’t look like they would be in the same band at all.  I spoke to the woman, and she said they are 4 singer songwriters from Brooklyn, who are sharing a backing band, and traveling around together.  I asked her what type of music they play, and she says: alt country and Alejandro Escovedo is their God.  GASP!!  I am so psyched!

Just moments before that, I was talking to 2 guys who seem to listen to a lot of music – bigger acts.  They asked me what kind of music I like, and I said alt country/Americana/singer songwriter.  They asked me to name someone, and I said Alejandro.  They had no idea what I was talking about [besides singer songwriter].

So, I was keyed up.

When the first guy sang just 2 lines, I could see their [2 guys] faces light up and they asked me to write down names of other artists who play this kind of music.

They weren’t as good as I had hoped they would be, but it was nice to hear the kind of music that I like.  I did buy 3 cds, cuz it seemed that they were in need of $10 [a pop] more than I.

And the band that I originally came to town to see…which started at 12.30, wasn’t all that good…I didn’t like their sound and I think the lead singer was strung out.  Mind you, IF I liked their sound, I wouldn’t care so much if he was strung out.  Ha.

So, all in all, a wonderful music evening.

I decided to stay another day, and have been basically lazy pretty much all day today. Hanging out for lunch, hanging out at the coffee shop, walking around, going to the library…  I will soon get on my bike and explore more than I already have. 

They claim that the first electric house [via hydro electricity] is here.

Appleton is smoke free!

Bus fare is free to the library.

Last nite when I was talking to those 2 guys…when I leaned in closer to talk to this one guy, between him and I was this heater that was blowing hot air.  Strange, since the rest of the place had a/c.  After a while he went to the men’s room and when he came back, our configuration of 3 changed, and then…so did that heater.  Each time I leaned it I got a blast of heat.  I then realized that it’s him!!  He is radiating heat like you wouldn’t believe it.  He said “ya…in the summer their king size bed isn’t big enuf for his wife to escape his heat.”  I can only imagine.

Heater man said that the craziest people in the state live in Fond du Lac and Sheboygan.  He said that if there is a crazy story about someone doing something “stupid” that it is usually someone from one of those 2 cities.  From now on, when I read “News of the Weird” stories/articles, I will look for those 2 cities.

Houdini was raised here.  All over town they have plaques telling tidbits about him and his family.  I’m going to his museum tomorrow.

There is a plaque re Andy Jimos, who had a hat cleaning business on the main street for 65 years…from 1927 to 1982, when he passed.  My, how times have changed.

Am off to cycle.  I’ll go listen to music tonite, but my expectations are low…I’ll be going to a pizza place.

Tomorrow I head for Osh Kosh [B’Gosh] and Fond du Lac.  2 places that I have yet to find anyone in this state who thinks I should visit.  However, I can’t leave WI without going to these places.  Heater man from last nite is from Fond du Lac, and even he was adamant that I NOT go.   Oh well.   

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Green Bay, Wisconsin

July 10, 2008

 

I am in Green Bay.

I got in yesterday late morning.  I had a really full day here.

I am staying “downtown”, however, it sure doesn’t look like a downtown area.  The helpful guy at the front desk says it is and to head out in a certain direction.  So I start out exploring on my bike.  Their downtown doesn’t look like a “regular” downtown.  You know how in smaller towns, outside of downtown, there are blocks with ordinary rectangular shaped office buildings…a couple of them on a block with a parking lot or two?  That is downtown Green Bay.  I kept searching. 

I asked a local person where their downtown is. 
You’re in it. 
No, I mean the “downtown” part of your downtown. 
This is it.

Sheesh…[idiot].

So I ask another person.  And come away thinking…idiot.

I get back to my hotel, and talk to the helpful guy and he sheds some light on my confusion:

In the early 70’s when malls first started being built [I remember with excitement as my hometown was building its first mall].  Green Bay decided to tear down its entire “downtown” area, and build a mall.  Which they did and it was quite successful/booming for a couple decades.  However, for the last decade or so it’s been dead.  They are slowing tearing down the mall and, it looks like they are putting up condos [starting at $180k].  So…that is why I couldn’t find what I was looking for.

There are a couple blocks a few blocks away across Fox River on Broadway Street, which has nice offbeat shops and restaurants.

On a side note, in the 70’s Appleton’s [45 min south] downtown merchants fought a mall that was to be built just outside of town.  They fought them for 10 years, but ended up losing, and the mall was built.  Their downtown shops suffered for years, but then the mall petered out and is gone…and their downtown is now booming.

We’ll see – I head that way later today.

I received suggestions that I should visit Lambeau Field, which I did.  The Field is in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

A couple things of note:
* Green Bay has 103,000 residents.  Stadium holds 83,000.  There is a waiting list of 85,000 for season tickets.  Each year, between 0 and 5 people turn their season tickets back in.  This year, ZERO people turned their tickets in.

* One can leave their tickets and/or their place in line on the waiting list in their Will.

* If you rent a “box” at the stadium.  The box is yours all year.  So, you can have parties, meetings, whatever in the box.  You just have to call and give notice, and you can’t bring in your own food/drink [except cakes].

* I’m sure most of you football fans know this, but the goal posts are painted fluorescent yellow.  Better to see them during snowy games.

* We walked out onto the field the same way the players do before the game.  They play a tape that sounds like the crowd, the music, the guy on the PA announcing the team.  I must say, even I got goose bumps.  Pretty cool.

* Obviously the field is NOT named/sold out to a corporate sponsor.  However, the 3 gates are named.  There are minimal ads inside the stadium.

After visiting the stadium and its Hall of Fame, I cycled over to the farmer’s market, which takes place each Wed on Broadway.  Bought strawberries.

Green Bay is positioned along Fox River, which feeds into Green Bay.  They have a cycling/walking path along the River.  VERY nice. However, at a certain point, it is maintained by the Parks Service.  Nothing wrong with that, but it becomes more “native”.  Bugs galore. Little bitty ones.  I didn’t mind getting constantly smashed in the face/body [cuz I’m just going to take a shower], but I couldn’t open my eyes to see.  I ended up closing one eye and putting my hand in front of my other eye to try to protect it from bugs getting in…but that didn’t work the best.  I then realized that I’m NOT having any fun.  I decided to ride to the next mile marker just to see how far I have gone in this Parks area. 

Mile: one.

Ha ha ha.  It sure did seem longer than that!

On the way back, some cyclists rode by me…all had goggles on.

There are rabbits and ducks all over town [near the water].

After that joy and a shower, I went to the Bullfrogs game.  There is a baseball league for college kids to play ball during the summer.  The teams consist of guys from all over the states.  I asked the guy at the desk if these games were fun, and he lit up with an enthusiastic YES.  Hmmm…he’s a guy.  How much fun can it be?  So, I went to the coffee shop and asked the woman whom I was talking with earlier, and she said YES!

So, I cycled off to the game.

The game WAS fun. 

* $5 tickets. 

* Green popcorn and nacho chips. 

* They had lots of audience participation “games” between innings and half innings.  They would announce that if this batter strikes out, then it’s half priced beer [or $1 soda] for the rest of the inning.  When the guy did, the stands made a mass exodus to the concessions stand.  This one poor guy, he struck out and people got half priced beer.  So, the next time he came up to bat, the announcer announced AGAIN, if he strikes out, its half priced beer, AGAIN for everyone.  That doesn’t relay too well in print.

* Nobody smoked.

* Pitcher [#19] felt the need to touch himself either after every pitch, or every other pitch.

I’d stay another day, but there is a band I want to see in Appleton tonite.  I don’t know them, but from their picture they look like someone I’d like to see.  I haven’t listened to live music since Oxford, MS.

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Sheboygan, Wisconsin – Day 2

July 7, 2008

 

I do really like Sheboygan.  It is a pretty city.  And with these trees with small flowers, it is one fine smelling city!

I easily cycled around for hours, all along the lake, around downtown, around neighborhoods…there is even an expensive resort recently built [$250-300/nt] facing Lake Michigan.  The resort has built a nice trail along the lake, along with Adirondack chairs facing the water/sunset.  They also build an indoor water park.  You know how water parks have the slides, which look like cylinders?  Well, here, they jut out of the sides of the building.  So, imagine a regular building with these cylinders looping out and back in the building.  Took me a bit to realize what it was.

Sheboygan Falls is less than 10 miles from here.  I went to a festival there yesterday.  It was packed!  They had over 100 antique automobiles.

I went to the Indian Mound Burial Ground, which is the middle of a residential neighborhood in Sheboygan.  Between 1,000 – 1,500 yrs ago, the Indians here buried people and shaped the surface in the form of animals.  I have no idea what I thought I would see, but reality was nowhere near what I thought.  The shapes are large – probably 20’ to 30’ long, and it’s just this mound of dirt [duh] with vegetation growing all around.  There is no way the average person would even notice a mound, let alone the shape. They did well in having signs so one can understand and picture it, but there is no way one would even notice this area…you would just walk on by.

Oh, one other offbeat item…in Sheboygan in the main park by the Lake [where the music fest was going on] there is a large memorial to the US Secret War in Laos.  It is circular with 12 panels.  6 of the big panels explain the US involvement, one panel for a map of Laos, and the remaining panels for names.  Unsure why this is here, since I have NOT seen one Laotian [sp?] person here.

Oh…forgot to update you re me and the temperature.  So, I started off cycling again last nite around 7 pm.  I had on a t-shirt, which was all I needed.  I also brought with me a sweater and my fleece jacket.  I knew I’d be out until it was dark.  The temp was 77’.  At around 9 pm I had to put both my sweater and fleece on.  After that [and it’s dark anyways] I headed back to my room cuz I was cold. I looked up to see the temp…73’.  4 degrees!  The difference of 4 degrees is me ok in a t-shirt vs having on 3 layers and cold.

I leave Sheboygan today for Kohler, Manitowoc and then Door County, the [supposed] gem of WI.

 

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